Numbers do not lie. Minnesota Timberwolves are 14th in the Western Conference and have the worst record of the league with only 19 wins and 44 losses. Unfortunately, nothing new for the Twin Cities fan base, but at least there is a new and exciting hope in the state of the 10,000 lakes: Anthony Edwards.
Anthony Edwards, who prefers to be called just ANT, was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves as the first draft pick back in November. In fact, it was the only gladness that the franchise dragged from last year, when they had to end short and were not invited to the bubble. They won the lottery to pick first in August and since then started to study who to choose in order to fit well in the pack. Time is starting to prove that they made the right choice, despite second pick LaMelo Ball is also doing great with the Charlotte Hornets.
ANT has progressively earned a main role as the season has advanced, and so his stats. After starting the first 17 games from the bench, he has now become a usual starter in the Wolves´lineup in the last 13 matchups. Anthony has played an average of 33 minutes per game so far in February, scored 15.5 points, registered 4.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 0.7 blocks. This month has not only been his best one statistically, but has also brought two significant games that have made an impact on what he has to offer: his impressive career-high 28 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks against the Lakers, and what could be The Dunk of the Year against the Raptors:
D´Angelo Russel´s recent injury, which will keep him out of the court for between four and six weeks due to an arthroscopic knee surgery to remove a loose body in his left knee has turned into an opportunity for ANT to step up and lead the Wolves on the court, along with other important players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Malik Beasley. Injuries have been a huge obstacle for the Wolves this season, as KAT has already missed 20 games out of 30 so far. In fact, KAT and D´Lo have only played five games together since Russell was traded to the Wolves in February 2020, a very frustrating and bothering slab for both of them.
Anthony Edwards has maintained a progressive growth through the last months and that has not only been reflected on his numbers and outstanding performances, but also on what he is giving to a team that is mentally low with a tone of loosing and key absences due to injuries and Covid. ANT has shown confidence on his game since day one and so the positivity that he brings to his teammates has been reflected on gestures like KAT´s giving him more notice and Rubio crediting him for shifting his low spirit at the beginning of the season:
Nothing far from reality, KAT´s presence on the court has also improved ANT´s contribution to the team, as his field goal percentage in the restricted area before Town´s return was 48.7% and after his return has increased up to 84.2%. These clearly proves that they know how to play together, and eventually could make a huge impact on Towns staying in MN, as Kyle Theige pointed out:
No question that he is still a Rookie and has not reach his basketball ceiling yet, but the energy he is bringing to a wounded franchise is what is keeping alive fans´hopes in the long term while they get frustrated nigh in and night out with constant looses. This kid is different and his character is inspiring the Wolves.